A group of Islamist fundamentalists were able to infiltrate the management of at least 10 schools in Birmingham, UK, because council officials were too scared to confront them out of fear of being labelled “Islamophobic”.
According to the Guardian, a report by Ian Kershaw, independent advisor to Birmingham City Council, concluded that fundementalists were even allowed to break the law in order to introduce strict Islamic practices, such as sex segregation, to classes.
Sir Albert Bore, the Labour leader of Birmingham City Council, yesterday apologised to the people of Birmingham “for the way the actions of a few, including some within the council, have undermined the great reputation of our city”, but refused to resign, blaming the previous Conservative administration turning a blind eye to the problem.
Kershaw found there had been a “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city”, which had been achieved through a “determined effort to change schools, often by unacceptable practices, in order to influence educational and religious provision for the students served”.
However, Kershaw’s report contradicts another report carried out by counter-terrorism police officer Peter Clarke when it claims that there was “no evidence of a conspiracy to promote an anti-British agenda, violent extremism or radicalisation of schools in east Birmingham.”
Clarke’s report, commissioned by former education secretary Michael Gove, said there had been a “sustained and coordinated agenda to impose upon children in a number of Birmingham schools the segregationist attitudes and practices of a hardline and politicised strain of Sunni Islam“.
Kershaw did say, however, that some children had been “coerced” into Muslim worship. Girls were also ordered to return from a tennis coaching programme because “because the school policy… does not allow girls to have a male coach and take part in any activity with boys”. A girls’ netball game was also cancelled because organisers could not guarantee that no men would be present.
Kershaw says that the main culprits are “men of Pakistani heritage” who “moved between schools” while trying to spread their views through the “unacceptable bullying and harassment of headteachers”.
He says there are “serious governance issues that exist in a small number of schools in east Birmingham as a result of, at best, poor skills, and at worst, serious malpractice, by members of certain governing bodies.”